It is a situation many of us have been tempted by; you are approaching the intersection when you see that the light has just turned yellow. You are sure you can make it, and put your foot on the gas to speed up and make it through. Most of the time, you are likely to be successful and get away unscathed. Just because you are not caught, however, doesn’t mean it is the right thing to do.
Research shows that around 40 percent of all car accidents in the United States occur as a result of an intersection, and the vast majority are due to people trying to beat yellow lights.
What Are the Driver’s Responsibilities?
It is scary when we consider the number of drivers who admit to not really understanding their responsibilities at an intersection. The guidance on this is clear:
- A yellow light
If you are at an intersection and see a steady yellow circle or a yellow arrow signal, this is a warning that the light will change soon, and unless you are nearly in or already in the intersection, you should slow to stop.
- A red light
If you are faced with a steady circular red signal, this is a sign to stop at the clearly marked line before you enter the intersection control area or the crosswalk.
If you are facing a steady red signal, you may proceed to make a right or left hand turn from a one or two-way street into a street going with the flow of traffic, unless a traffic sign prohibits this. If you are planning to make this movement, however, you need to remain stopped to allow any other motorists who are approaching or already in the intersection area to finish what they are doing.
All pedestrians must be allowed to cross within the intersection area or crosswalk before you start moving.
Red and Yellow Light Accident Lawyer: Who Has the right of way?
There are obligations which all drivers must follow when it comes to the right of way:
- If turning left at an intersection, you must yield the right of way to oncoming traffic and pedestrians.
- If entering a roundabout, you must yield right of way to traffic on the left.
- If there is no stop sign visible, you must yield right of way to any vehicles approaching or already within the intersection.
- If an intersection has multiple stop signs, the first car to arrive has the right of way. If vehicles arrive at the same time, the one to the left always has the right of way.
If you are involved in an accident of this nature, it is a good idea to contact an experienced red and yellow light accident lawyer, who will have the skills and tools to help you put your case forward and help you to claim compensation for any medical expenses or financial losses which you may have suffered. This is especially useful if you are unsure as to who was at fault, or need help gathering valuable evidence to support your claim.